June 02, 2008

Shuttle Launchpad Damaged As Discovery Takes Off

The shuttle launchpads, numbers 39A and 39B at the Kennedy Space Centre were originally built for the massive Saturn V rockets used to take the Apollo astronauts to the Moon. After the take off of STS-124 it was found that there was damage to launch pad 39A, with concrete blocks and debris thrown around the area.

NASA spokesman Bill Johnson said Sunday "they sustained some serious damage on the north side of the (flame trench) wall. They'll get a full report tomorrow." A NASA manager said later part of the pad's base was repaired after a previous launching but possibly, something was either missed or not repaired correctly.

Successful shuttle launch visible from DeLand Saturday
The DeLand-Deltona Beacon - DeLand,FL,USA
It is the second of three flights that will launch components to complete the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. • The shuttle crew will ...

Shuttle launch pad damaged during Discovery's liftoff
Spaceflight Now - Orlando,FL,USA
BY WILLIAM HARWOOD Launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center suffered unusual damage during the shuttle Discovery's blastoff Saturday, NASA officials said ...

Minn. astronaut calls shuttle launch 'incredible'
KAALtv.com - Rochester,MN,USA
She spoke to WCCO-AM radio on Sunday from aboard the shuttle Discovery. She talked about the launch, saying it was "a kick in the pants" and she says she ...

Space Shuttle Discovery launches on mission STS-124
Mister Info - Hong Kong,Hong Kong
ECO sensor failures had caused a number of delays to recent Shuttle launch attempts, and STS-124 is the first mission to use a modified tank, ...

Shuttle launch pad damaged

 By sukhdeep
Shuttle launch pad damaged During launch of the space ship Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center on Saturday the Launch pad 39A got damaged and many concrete blocks were thrown off on the road behind the pad. ...
News Journal - http://news.dcealumni.com

CNN misses the mark on the Shuttle Launch in HD
After touting the splendor of watching a shuttle launch in high definition, during the actual launch on Saturday, May 31, CNN did the unthinkable. They didn't bother to actually just go full screen HD. Instead the filled the screen up ...
Maine HDTV Forum - http://mainehdtv.blogspot.com/

Launchpad Damaged During Saturday's Shuttle Launch
 By Fraser
Debris falls into the water during Discovery's launch on Saturday. Image from CBS Space Place.The launchpad at Kennedy Space Center was damaged during Saturday's space shuttle launch. Pictures taken during Discovery's launch show debris ...
Bad Astronomy and Universe Today Forum - http://www.bautforum.com

Shuttle Launch Damages Launch Pad
 By dsyzdek
The Apollo-era launch complexes, modified for the space shuttle, must endure enormous pressures and extreme heating when shuttles take off but its not yet clear what caused the damage, what might be required to fix it or whether the ...
- http://www.syzdekistan.com

Shuttle launch pad damaged during Discovery's liftoff ...
 By Google Inc.
Shuttle launch pad damaged during Discovery's liftoff Spaceflight Now - 1 hour ago BY WILLIAM HARWOOD Launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center suffered unusual damage during the shuttle Discovery's blastoff Saturday, NASA officials ...
iklangadget.com - http://www.iklangadget.com/ads

June 2, 2008 in Space | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 31, 2008

NASA Ready To Launch Space Shuttle Discovery

Mission STS-124 is having the final touches put to it at the moment, let's just hope they haven't forgotten the supplies necessary to fix the toilet on the International Space Station. I would say let's cross our fingers, but the crew of the space station are more likely crossing their legs.

NASA are fuelling Discovery ready for a late afternoon launch at the Kennedy Space Centre, with good weather and no hiccups there should be no problems. Let's hope it stays that way.

Everything looks good for Saturday shuttle launch
The Associated Press -
(AP) — With good weather in the offing and no bumps in the countdown, NASA pushed ahead with Saturday's planned launch of space shuttle Discovery on a ...

Forecast looks bright for shuttle launch
The rotating service structure, the giant metal shroud surrounding the space shuttle on its launch pad, is set to be retracted at 8:30 pm ET Friday. ...

Space Shuttle Launch Update: $1m lab and toilet pump for space station
Only Kent - Kent,England,UK
The weather looks good and NASA have started fueling Discovery for the space shuttle launch late this afternoon, the external tank started receiving fuel at ...

Everything looks good for Saturday shuttle launch
WZTV - Nashville,TN,USA
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (AP) -- With the weather looking good and no hitches in the countdown, it should be full speed ahead for space shuttle Discovery this ...

Brunswick family shares thrill of shuttle launch
Brunswick Times Record - ME, United States
Models of the space shuttle and space station will be on display along with a live broadcast of the launch, preceded by a talk by guest lecturer and ...

NASA begins fueling shuttle Discovery for launch
The Associated Press -
(AP) — NASA began fueling space shuttle Discovery on Saturday for a late afternoon launch to the international space station. Everything seemed to be going ...

Buzz Lightyear Heading Into Space On Saturday's Shuttle Launch
WFtv.com - Orlando,FL,USA
NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery will have an extra passenger onboard when it goes up this Saturday. Discovery will be carrying a 12-inch tall Buzz Lightyear ...

Space station to get its largest lab
Christian Science Monitor - Boston,MA,USA
The shuttle launch Saturday, carrying the new module, is a key step for Japan’s space program. By Peter N. Spotts | Staff Writer for The Christian Science ...

Summer Camps are Go for Launch at Kennedy Space Center
Hospitality 1st (press release) - Cape Coral,FL,USA
Campers discover the sights, sounds and sensations of a Space Shuttle launch on the new Shuttle Launch Experience. This simulation offers a fun-filled ...

Space Shuttle Discovery to Launch Today
RedOrbit - Dallas,TX,USA
If the space shuttle does not blast off today, the weather forecast deteriorates for subsequent launch opportunities on Sunday and Monday, she said. ...

 By quintanomedia
At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians are putting the finishing touches on space shuttle Discovery one day before its scheduled liftoff on mission STS-124. Launch is set for May 31 at 5:02 pm EDT. ...
- http://quintanomedia.wordpress.com

Todays Space Shuttle Launch - STS-124
 By Daniel Voyager
... hydrogen began at 7:38 am EDT and final preps are under-way. NASA managers today have cleared the shuttle Discovery for launch May 31, at 5:02:09 pm EDT (ALL GO). This misson will deliver and attach Japan’s huge Kibo laboratory [...]
Daniel Voyager's Blog - http://danielvoyagerwebsite2008.wordpress.com

Space Shuttle Launch
 By Fred(Fred)
Pictured is Discovery on launch pad 39B at Kennedy Space Center. Lift-off is scheduled for 5:02pm (Eastern) this afternoon.
Camden High School Class Of 65 - http://camdenhighschoolclassof65.blogspot.com/

Weather Looks Good for Saturday Shuttle Launch
The weather looks good for NASA's Saturday shuttle launch.
Today.com Latest blogs - http://www.today.com/rss_items.xml

 By HAWK....
With good weather in the offing and no bumps in the countdown, NASA pushed ahead with Saturday's planned launch of space shuttle Discovery on a delivery trip to the International space station. The mission has taken on a new urgency, ...
THE OTTUMWA SHAMAN. - http://isntlifestrange.blogstream.com

May 31, 2008 in Space | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 04, 2007

NASA Sex Tape

This NASA sex tape will not, I am sure, ever see the light of day (or the half light of darkened rooms, either). Seriously, there really is a NASA sex tape and no, it doesn't involve an astronaut driving across the country in a daiper.

Way back when, NASA needed to find out whether sex was in fact possibly in zero G. So they asked a lady astronaut and a gentleman astronaut if they'd be willing to make the beast with two backs while up there. We don't know how many they asked but they did get the volunteers they needed and thus they filmed it, making the NASA sex tape.

US and Russian astronauts have had sex in space for separate research programmes on how human beings might survive years in orbit, according to a book published yesterday.

Pierre Kohler, a respected French scientific writer, says in The Final Mission: Mir, The Human Adventure that the subject is taboo both at Nasa and at mission control in Moscow, but that cosmic couplings have taken place.

"The issue of sex in space is a serious one," he says. "The experiments carried out so far relate to missions planned for married couples on the future International Space Station, the successor to Mir. Scientists need to know how far sexual relations are possible without gravity."

He cites a confidential Nasa report on a space shuttle mission in 1996. A project codenamed STS-XX was to explore sexual positions possible in a weightless atmosphere.

Twenty positions were tested by computer simulation to obtain the best 10, he says. "Two guinea pigs then tested them in real zero-gravity conditions. The results were videotaped but are considered so sensitive that even Nasa was only given a censored version."

Only four positions were found possible without "mechanical assistance". The other six needed a special elastic belt and inflatable tunnel, like an open-ended sleeping bag.

Mr Kohler says: "One of the principal findings was that the classic so-called missionary position, which is so easy on earth when gravity pushes one downwards, is simply not possible."

The missionary position is not possible then, eh? Hmm. So I guess that the Southern Baptists aren't going to make it off planet then?

December 4, 2007 in Space | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 23, 2007

Shuttle Launch

The space shuttle launch this morning seems to have gone off with only minor hitches:

Space shuttle Discovery and a crew of seven rocketed away Tuesday in pursuit of the International Space Station, where a formidable construction job awaits them.

Discovery blasted off at 11:38 a.m., carrying up a giant Tinkertoy-type link that must be installed at the space station before European and Japanese laboratories can arrive.

Despite a forecast calling for rain right at launch time, the weather ended up cooperating. And a chunk of ice on plumbing between the external fuel tank and Discovery -- 4 inches by 1 1/2 inches -- was deemed too small by NASA to pose a serious launch hazard. It appeared to be melting as the countdown entered its final minutes.

Launch director Mike Leinbach wished the crew good luck and Godspeed just before liftoff.

"We're ready to take Harmony to her new home," replied commander Pamela Melroy, referring to the new space station compartment aboard Discovery.

If you'd like to see the Nasa video of the shuttle launch it can be found here. You might have to use one of thet mirror sites as traffic gets very heavy on shuttle launch days.

October 23, 2007 in Space | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 04, 2007

Sputnik Anniversary

Today is the Sputnik Anniversary, the 50th year to the day since the small satellite was launched into orbit around the earth. Of course, it wasn't something completely new: it was building on the work of people like Tsiolkovsky and Robert Goddard, even of the Nazis and their various rockets such as the V1 and the V2. But it was the first time anything had been put into orbit by man so for that reason the Sputnik anniversary is worth remembering.

One of the best pieces I've seen on Sputnik comes from my (occasional) employer, Madsen Pirie:

When Sputnik 1 was launched into orbit half a century ago, the space age began and the earth acquired its first artificial moon. The world's reaction to it effectively started the space race as well, since the Soviet Union trumpeted the feat as proof of the superiority of communism and soviet science. What it did establish was the weight of Soviet military power, and what can be done if a nation single-mindedly devotes so huge a proportion of its national product to its military.

The small light crossing the heavens (which was not the tiny sputnik but the final stage of its launch rocket) persuaded the Americans to stop regarding space research as low key science, and to treat it instead as a high profile military and political endeavour. The Russians began this, for Korolev's programme largely consisted of doing what the US planned to do, but doing it ahead of them. New information shows how haphazard this process often was. Korolev had the advantage of the large military booster with its wrap-round cluster rockets, a design still in service today.

The Soviets could not sustain their early successes, lacking both the wealth and the scientific sophistication, especially in electronics, of the US. In retrospect it seems astonishing what within 12 years of that first sputnik launch, Americans were walking on the moon.

Exactly, at the time Sputnik was seen as the expression of th superiority of he planned Soviet system. It was subsequent events in the space race which showed its flaws: for economic development is a marathon, not a sprint.

The Russians are using the anniversary as a booster for their current space plans:

In 1957 the first man-made satellite, Sputnik, was launched by what was then the Soviet Union.

The launch is considered one of the most significant moments in history and began the space race with the US, which eventually sent men to the Moon.

After years of decline the Russians are now back in the space game with highly ambitious plans.

But I have to say that the lack of electronics still hampers them: I know, I've supplied chips from the US to the Russian space program.

Some Americans are using the same Sputnik anniversary to argue for boosts in science spending today:

On Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched the world's first space satellite, called Sputnik 1. It weighed only 184 pounds, but it demonstrated technology and rocket power that few thought the Russians had. By contrast, the first planned US satellite was the grapefruit-sized Vanguard, weighing three pounds.


A month later, the Russians sent a dog into orbit in a satellite weighing 1,121 pounds. The space race was on, and the United          States was losing.       


The American people were shocked by Sputnik, as were many political leaders. Republican Sen. Styles Bridges of New Hampshire warned, "The time has clearly come to be less concerned with the depth of the pile on the new broadloom rug or the height of the tail fin on the car and to be more prepared to shed blood, sweat, and tears if this country and the free world are to survive."


At first, the politicians played their usual games, with Democrats holding hearings to expose delays and mismanagement in US programs and with Republicans trying to reassure the American people that the United States was still strong. But very soon, leaders from both parties came together in a measured, deliberate, yet broad response.

To be honest, I'm really not sure about that. All of the interesting things being done in space science these days are coming from the private sector. We really don't need another International Space Station swallowing all the available cash.

Here's the Reuters report on the anniversary:

And the CBS one:
A concern that Russia might make a similar leap forward today:
And an interesting memoir from Kruschev's son:
And finally, a look at Sputnik's legacy:

October 4, 2007 in Space | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 07, 2007

Space Diving

Via Dizzy comes this.

So, you're in orbit, in a space suit, with a couple of parachutes. Why can't you just descend from orbit on said parachutes?

I'll admit to having had this rolling around the back of my mind for months: say you had a Space Elevator, wouldn't you end up attracting the base jumping crowd?

The thing I can't work out though is why it wouldn't work. Can anyone clear this up for me?

July 7, 2007 in Space | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

June 06, 2007

Faulty Logic

I too am of the belief that there's life out there but that doesn't excuse this rather faulty logic:

He added that aliens could now be eavesdropping on us. "As from 1927, we have been propagating outwards from Earth, a very specific indicator of our existence."

These radio waves are now 80 light years away. "That is going to encompass many hundreds of potentially habitable planets," he said. "It is not just a one way process. If there is intelligent life out there, they sure as hell know we are here."

Their hearing our radio transmissions presupposes that they have the technology of radio. In which case we should be able to hear their transmissions: and despite listening for a number of decades, we can't.

June 6, 2007 in Space | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 07, 2007

How To Crash the System

This would have some interesting effects don't you think? Lisa Novak, the space cadet fighting another over the physical affections of a Shuttle pilot has, as a condition of her bail, to wear a GPS tag.

Nowak is free on bond but required to wear a global positioning device that will alert authorities if she returns to Florida.

Yup, they've put a global positioning tag on an astronaut.

March 7, 2007 in Space | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 29, 2006

Private Space Flight

Little piece outlining the private efforts to get into space in The Guardian. All we need now is for this meme, this understanding of bureaucracies, to reach the editorial pages:

No one has left Earth orbit since the Apollo programme ended in 1972, and during the intervening years of what one astronaut describes as "sliding around" in shuttles and space stations, Nasa changed from being a creative, risk-taking organisation to a bureaucratic poodle, forever begging funds from reluctant politicians.
The one thing the organisation could cling to was its monopoly on space activity, which it guarded jealously.

That’s simply what happens, always, to all bureaucraceis. As there is no feedback process, it is inevitable.

This looks wrong to me though:

What often goes unappreciated is this: where entering earth orbit is difficult, requiring speeds of 17,500 mph,

That’s escape velocity, isn’t it? Not orbital?

July 29, 2006 in Space | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 16, 2006

The Least of Our Worries

If we should indeed leave earth for some other part of the cosmos, where should we go?

There's also an ethical problem. An Earth-like planet with an oxygen-rich atmosphere breathable by humans is already likely to have its own life. "You won't find an oxygen-rich planet without life," says Crawford. "What is being advocated is appropriating somebody else's planet. That will be ethically repugnant."

I’d have said that would be the least of our worries. A pretty simple "us or them" problem and we have recorded history to look at to tell us how people react in such situations. "Them" don’t really get much of a chance, unless they win, of course.

June 16, 2006 in Space | Permalink | Comments (9)